The Telegraph
Thursday , November 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lalu for poll battle on issues, not names

Patna, Nov. 14: Lalu Prasad feels announcing the name of a prime ministerial candidate ahead of the elections creates “trouble” for any alliance.

“PM aur CM ka naam lene se lafra ho jata hai (Trouble starts if the name of Prime Minister or chief minister is announced). We should stick to issues rather than getting bogged down on who will be the Prime Minister or chief minister,” Lalu said stressing that the next general elections would also be a war between communalism and secularism.

Lalu recalled that before the last assembly polls, he had announced that if the RJD-LJP alliance came to power “he (Lalu) would be the chief minister and Ram Vilas Paswan’s brother Pashupati Nath Paras would be his deputy.

“But my announcement turned out to be ridiculous,” he admitted, stressing that a person from any caste or creed could become Prime Minister or chief minister. “Everybody — me, Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee among the rest — wants to be the Prime Minister. If the Congress wants Rahul Gandhi to become the Prime Minister, I am nobody to oppose it. But it is my personal view that we should first concentrate on issues rather than getting engaged in personalities,” he added.

Lalu rejected the concept of a third front. “There will be no third front. This experiment will be a non-starter,” he said.

On the recent rally organized by the CPI(ML)-Liberation where it had given a call for an alternative to the UPA and the NDA, Lalu said first the Left — CPM, CPI and CPI(ML) — should merge and try to emerge stronger. He predicted a hung Parliament and said the next formation at the Centre would be on the basis of a common minimum programme.

Lalu dubbed Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as a national problem who is being backed by the RSS. “Anybody going against the RSS in the BJP is removed,” he said. “There should be no confusion that the RSS is the heart, lungs and kidney of the Sangh Parivar. The BJP is only a symbol,” he added.